10 Must Have Clauses for your Life Coaching Contract
Life coaching seems to be one of the fastest growing industry's - and for good reason: People are understanding the value of life coaches to help them reach their goals and make changes in their life.
When you’re starting out in your coaching journey, getting a great life coaching contract in place is likely not at the front of your mind, but it should be! It's an important piece to show your potential clients how seriously you take your business. A great contract is the base from which to establish the guidelines and parameters of your coaching relationship in order to protect yourself, your business, and your clients. If you’re a life coach or thinking about becoming one, check out these 10 must have clauses for your life coaching contract.
But First, What is a Life Coaching Contract?
A life coaching contract is a legal written agreement between you and your client that sets out the expectations and terms of your coaching relationship and your work together. It's what makes your coaching relationship official!
This includes the obvious things, such as the term of your relationship, your coaching fees, payment terms, description of work, etc. However, a great life coaching contract includes a host of other information that lays out what it’s like to work with you and what your client can expect along the way, especially when things don’t go as planned.
Why it’s Important to Have a Life Coaching Contract
Of course it’s important for every service-provider and coach to have a solid contract, but it’s especially important for life coaches. Having a solid life coaching contract allows all parties involved to get on the same page right from the start. This helps prevent any confusion or misunderstandings.
Additionally, your contract can answer any questions that your client might not have thought to ask you, such as, what happens if they need to unexpectedly cancel a coaching session or they fail to complete the assignment or work you asked of them.
It’s a big red flag if your potential client doesn’t want to sign your life coaching contract. That may be a sign that they are not a good fit for you or they are not truly ready to do the work and make moves forward in the areas they are hiring you to support them in.
It’s important to have your agreement in writing in case there is a dispute and you end up in court. You can easily collect your clients’ signatures on your contracts by using e-signatures. Read more about that here.
10 Must Have Clauses to Include in your Life Coaching Contract
If you’re a life coach or thinking about becoming one, I highly recommend you include these 10 must have clauses in your life coaching contract.
#1. Term of Life Coaching Contract
This clause sets out when your working relationship begins and ends. As a life coach, you have to protect your time and energy, so it’s important for your clients to know when the agreement begins, how long they have access to you and your content, and when the agreement ends.
#2. Payment Terms
I know you love your work, but you have to ensure you get paid, right? Clearly set out payment terms are key to ensuring you don’t get ghosted or lose out on money. These terms include how much the payment is, when the payment is due, how the payment should be made, what happens if a payment is missed, and if you offer refunds.
#3. Scope of Services
As a life coach, you have a ton of wisdom and knowledge, but you have to protect yourself and be specific on what the scope of your services are. Having a clear and specific outline of the services you provide helps the client understand what they can expect. This includes things like the number of calls they get, how long these calls are, what resources they have access to, etc. This also protects you from that dreaded scope creep so you don’t end up providing services that are not under your scope of services.
#4. Additional Services
Anything beyond what you agree to provide as part of your fee and scope of services, that you offer for MORE money, should be included in the additional services clause. If you want to offer extra calls, a review of your client’s work, bonus resources, or access to you via Voxer, etc, that’s amazing! Just make sure you charge extra for it and include it in your additional services clause.
#5. Communication Guidelines
Just because you’re a life coach doesn’t mean you have to give your clients 24/7 access to you. It’s important to establish boundaries in your business to protect your time and energy and ensure any correspondence doesn't get missed or forgotten about.
In your communication guidelines clause, specify how you expect your clients to communicate with you, whether that’s via email, Slack message, Voxer, etc. Next, set out your office hours, that way you don’t have clients calling, emailing, or messaging you at 8 pm on a Saturday night because they’re having a crisis and expect an immediate response. It’s also important to include your response time in your contract. This sets the expectation for when your client can expect a response. This could be within 24 hours, 1-2 business days, or whatever works for you. Just make sure whatever you choose is doable for you long-term.
#6. Intellectual Property
You’re likely going to provide a ton of valuable content and resources for your clients, so make sure you protect all of that, as it’s YOUR intellectual property, not theirs or anyone else’s. The worst feeling is when you see your work being copied or someone else taking credit for what you’ve worked so hard to create.
As stated in my disclaimers blog post, a disclaimer is a legal statement that can be found on websites, in legal contracts, or even as a stand-alone document where one party tells the other party that they are denying legal responsibility for something that might happen as a result of the other party using or implementing what they're offering.
Life coaching is a space that relies heavily on the client doing their part of the work in order to get the result, no matter what you guarantee. Therefore, disclaimers are especially important to include in your life coaching contract as well as in your contracts if you’re in the health and wellness space. They can provide you protection in the event of being sued. A great disclaimer specifies the particular risks that may arise to your client through the course of your coaching relationship. Be clear on these risks and set them out in your contract so your client is aware of them from the start.
The nature of life coaching is very intimate and personal. Therefore, your client needs to know that their personal information and what they share with you will be kept confidential, as much as possible. This goes both ways, too. They must understand that your coaching practices and strategies that fall under your scope of services and that are not public, should also be kept confidential and not be shared with anyone else.
#9. Rescheduling and Cancellation
These clauses are so important to make clear in your contract and are a great way to set your boundaries. Nothing is more frustrating than spending your precious time prepping for a client session, only for them to either show up 20 minutes late or message you at the last minute that they can’t make it and want to reschedule. This is a huge time, energy, and good nature suck! It leads to client and business resentment too.
Therefore, get VERY clear on your policies around rescheduling and cancellations and ensure that your client contract is clear. Then, when these things happen, because they will, you can lean on your contract to remind your client that they signed up for your policies in the first place.
It’s also important to set out how you or your client can end the contract and what your refund policies are, if any, in that situation. Don’t leave this as a grey area. Make it crystal clear.
#10. Governing Law
The life coaching industry is so vast and oftentimes, coaches are working with clients in other countries. Make sure you have a governing law clause that sets out what laws govern the contract when you are in one country and your client is in another. You want to ensure that your contract is clear that the laws of your province or state govern your contract and that if you end up in court, it’s the court closest to YOU. This is important to set out for your clients.
Having a great life coaching contract that you implement as soon as possible not only shows professionalism in your business, but it also forces you to take a detailed look at your own business policies BEFORE any issues come up and you have to navigate them without a framework (aka, your contract).
A contract is there to help you and your client get on the same page and understand the expectations and boundaries of your working relationship, but it’s also there for you to rely on in the event that you are sued.
If you have a website for your life coaching business, remember that it’s important
Life coaching is undoubtedly a powerful, rewarding, and exciting career. Just make sure you’re protecting that career and your boundaries with a solid contract so you can enjoy your work and feel confident knowing your bases are all covered.
Be sure to send this blog to your life coaching friends so they can ensure they’re covered from the start.